In a significant development, the minor who accused Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) President and BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh of sexual harassment and stalking has retracted her allegations. It was reported that the minor gave a fresh statement before a magistrate u/s 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), thus holding evidentiary value before a court.
The court would now be tasked with deciding whether the case could proceed in light of conflicting statements under the provisions, and which statement would carry more weight.
On May 10, the minor recorded her statement before a magistrate providing an account of the alleged incident of sexual harassment. Thereafter, the WFI President was charged under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
It is pertinent to note that under criminal law, the “burden of proof” lies with the prosecution to prove the case against the accused “beyond reasonable doubt.” It was reported that the court would now have to assess the credibility of the complainant’s statements and that such an assessment would determine the future course of the case.
On May 31, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh responded to the protesting wrestlers’ allegations and said that he would “hang” himself if allegations against him are proven. “If a single allegation against me is proven, I will hang myself,” the WFI chief said while addressing a public rally in UP’s Barabanki.
“It’s been four months and they want me to be hanged. The government is not hanging me that’s why they gathered at Haridwar on May 30 and threatened to immerse their medals in the Ganga. This will not bring the sentence that they want for me, it is all emotional drama,” he said.
“If you (wrestlers) have any evidence, present it in the Court and I am ready to accept any punishment,” Singh said. “Delhi police is investigating the matter. I would be arrested if there’s any truth to the charges (levelled by the wrestlers),” he added.
Several ace grapplers including Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat and Sakshi Malik have been protesting against the WFI chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh accusing him of sexual harassment and demanding his arrest. They also went on to question the fact that how the women wrestlers had to hide for the entire day.
It is to be noted that, in an interview with a news channel, the family of the minor who has registered a case (POCSO) against Singh said Sakshi Malik, Bajrang Punia & Phogat etc misguided her, used her for their dirty politics.